School construction booming in the city

December 22, 2010 10:05AM

The city’s School Construction Authority appears likely to emerge as one of the biggest real estate winners of the recession, having taken advantage of the lower costs of construction and the large supply of stalled private sector projects to build a record 26 new public school facilities this year. According to the New York Times, the authority is in its second year of an $11.7 billion five-year capital plan and that has catapulted it to the forefront of the construction industry. “All of a sudden, marquee construction firms that would only do projects that were $15 million and above are bidding for SCA jobs,” said Louis Coletti, who heads the Building Trades Employers’ Association. For example, SCA projects account for around 12 percent of Turner Construction’s current work in New York, compared with none during the real estate boom. It’s not just public schools, either. Both private and charter schools are also growing across the five boroughs — not to mention the massive expansion plans of the city’s colleges, like NYU, Fordham University and Columbia University. Between May 2008 and April 2009, more than half of the construction starts in the city came from the education sector, according to the New York Building Congress. [NYT]